Joint project with the Lucern University
Combining specialized textile knowledge and diverse interdisciplinary expertise, the Products & Textiles research group conducts application-focused research where design, technology, materials, and sustainability meet. Together with partners from industry and research, this group studies and validates innovative processes and products. Through the use of design visions and systematic experimental examinations, interdisciplinary project teams develop approaches for innovative processes and products that can be transferred into contemporary application scenarios and made usable as prototypes.
The research project
The research project that lead to the collaboration with Groz-Beckert concerns textiles for sleep. The goal: To analyze, based on the material structure and various knitted structures, the functional and aesthetic qualities of next-to-skin fabrics used during sleep and to optimize these via prototyping. In concrete terms, the collaboration with Groz-Beckert allowed for knitted samples to be manufactured for haptic as well as psychological and technical examinations.
This research project studies sleep from the perspective of textile research. A natural fiber that absorbs the heat and moisture given off by the body, and radiates this outwards as needed, should make it easier to find sleep in the comfort zone. Integrated functional patches warm the body where it is cooling and cool it where it is becoming too warm. The materials are developed by the research team from HSLU D&K together with the material scientists from Empa St. Gallen and the startup Dagsmejan Ventures AG. This company distributes functional sleep textiles around the world via online retail and offers customers scientifically-supported textile material specifications.
Further important findings on nocturnal temperature deviations and sleep activities were obtained through a collaboration with the University of Stockholm. The researchers and young entrepreneurs from Dagsmejan do not want to leave anything to chance, as sleep is still considered "one of the most important contributing factors for well-being and health". In order to obtain comparisons when evaluating the analysis model, Groz-Beckert has now knit two different natural materials in the same thread sizes and structures in order to have them haptically evaluated by test persons.
Because a majority of textile production has moved out of Switzerland, the research group has found it increasingly difficult to gain access to industrial infrastructure for material experiments. Searching for a production partner for the knitted samples wanted in the research project, the research team first turned to Reutlingen University. This university has a modern machinery pool for educating students which is almost unique, at least in Europe. The stitching lab is equipped with the most important stitch-forming machines for the production of knitted and interlaced fabrics, which the Lucerne School does not have, unfortunately. However, the fine needle gauge needed by the research team could not be manufactured in Reutlingen. The suggestion to turn to Groz-Beckert came from Reutlingen. Luckily, we have every gauge on hand, and we can also knit small quantities with our own materials. In the end, this means we were able to produce the functional knit for use during sleep in two different materials and various structures.
Conclusion of the Lucerne University
This collaboration proved to be exceptionally bountiful and efficient. Especially because the services we provide make it possible to do more than just use knitting machines. The personal technical consultation and sponsoring of work hours and yarn we provided contributed to the research project's success.